Campaigners' school claims 'not all accurate' - council

ARGYLL and Bute Council's new education spokesperson says she is "confident" that not all the claims in a report which led to the authority's school closure plans being suspended are accurate.

However, Councillor Ellen Morton has not yet stated which parts of the Scottish Rural Schools Network's presentation she believes to be incorrect.

SRSN chairman Sandy Longmuir gave the presentation to senior councillors in advance of a special meeting of the authority on January 5, at which consultation on plans to shut 25 primary schools, including North Bute Primary in Port Bannatyne, was suspended.

After a vote which authorised Cllr Morton to lead the preparation of a new review of the authority's primary school estate, Mr Longmuir then repeated his presentation in front of the full council and members of the press and public.

Councillor Morton said on Wednesday: "We're grateful to the Scottish Rural Schools Network for the time and effort they spent pulling together their presentation, although on first seeing the proposal I'm confident not all of their claims are accurate.

"We will now take the time to read their presentation in detail and prepare our response.

"It would be wrong to give a knee-jerk reaction to a presentation which was lengthy and claimed a lot of detail."

Replying to Cllr Morton's statement, Mr Longmuir told The Buteman: "SRSN stand by the points put forward in its presentation, which repeated well rehearsed objections to the claims made in the original proposal documents. Some of these complaints go back to November.

"It was disappointing that the council officials were unable to engage with the issues at the meeting, despite the fact that they had been working on the proposals for the best part of a year before they were published. We hope to hear their response soon."

The new set of consultation proposals are due to be considered by the council on March 3; the authority intends to implement its final proposals in October this year.